Photography

Photography and Me

The kid next door introduced me to photography the summer I turned 10.  We used his camera to take and develop b/w photos of everything we saw.  That winter my parents caved in and bought the Tower 120 mm twin reflex camera that I found in the Sears catalog.  With that trusty 120 I learned to photograph subjects near and far, fast and still, light and well, almost dark.

The next winter I read a novel about a young man who was a wildlife photographer.  What timing!  I thought that story had set the course for my life.  But life takes its turns and in time, photography became so familiar to me that my interest transferred from photography to the subjects.  In college I studied vegetation ecology and landscape dynamics and used photographs as a documentary tool.  Like every other snapshooter out there, I became a documentary photographer.

After college the old Bogan (now by Manfroto) tripod given me by my friend George Ballard, supported a succession of cameras and lenses.  Thousands of students at the University of Utah, Columbia University, and UCLA saw the slides.  Two books and numerous technical articles in academic journals and conference proceedings contain examples of the b/w work.

In 2004, I sold all my fabulous Zone VI darkroom equipment that had been funded by the U. S. Justice Department, gave away my Nikon, and switched to digital photography.  I am happy with the change, but a little sad for the tiny tics of memory on the thousands of b/w negatives and color slides that are sitting in dusty cardboard boxes awaiting eventual disposal.  Here’s some news.  In January, 2015 I began scanning slides and by March had gone through about 2,000 of the Kodachromes.

I selected the photos included here from the 30,000 or so taken since 2003.  They have some documentary value, but mostly they are just pretty or interesting.  I suppose that I am following the same impulses that motivate curators of all kinds to share their collections with others:  I hope you like the pictures.

Dates and Formats

My photos from before 1973 are scattered, and I have none of the negatives.  From 1973 through 2003, I photographed on 35mm b/w and Kodachrome.  After 2003, everything is digital in numerous formats.  The photos here are all JPEGS with minimum compression.

Garden Flowers

For almost 15 years, I succumbed to a weakness for large flowers and planted thousands of seeds, bulbs, and transplants around my house.  Dave, Denise, Michael, Monti, and Velita helped.  I’ll begin with the daffodils.

Other Subjects

  • Landscapes
  • Wildlife

Recent Posts

Disappearing Wildlife and Nature Conservation

GR: This is an urgent message that everyone should receive: We must act to stop the global deterioration and loss of forests, shrublands, grasslands, soil, and wildlife. Human activities–plowing the land, cutting the forests, grazing the grassland, warming the air, and exposing soil to wind and water erosion–are destroying our planetary life-sustaining ecosystems. Over the 40-year period to 2012, more than half the animals on Earth disappeared. Unless we make an immediate and powerful response, vegetation and soil losses will continue until they strip the planet’s surface bare. Without soil, much of the Earth will become as lifeless as the moon. Barren and silent but for whispering wind, pockets of weeds, clouds of wildfire smoke, and the distant cries of a few remaining animals.

Bessie Parker farm, Leon, Iowa. The erosion in these fields has reduced the value of the farm to the point where all but 40 acres have been taken over for taxes. Erosion has not stopped. Cattle grazing and sporadic hay mowing will continue to expose soil (photo: public domain, U. S. National Archives).

The source of the information on wildlife decline is the World Wildlife Fund: “Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk. The latest edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report brings home the enormity of the situation – and how we can start to put it right. The Living Planet Index reveals that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012. We could witness a two-thirds decline in the half-century from 1970 to 2020 . . .”

Without soil, there will be no farms, freshwater will runoff to the sea, vegetation will disappear, and wildlife will die (photo © Kelly Sillaste / Getty Images / WWF).

Wildlife decline: Living Planet Report 2016 | WWF

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